Following increasing attention in the media on single-use plastics a group of key UK growers, and representatives from the HTA, seized the initiative last week to discuss the future of plastic pots within the garden industry. Allensmore Nurseries, Darby Nursery Stock, Double H Nurseries, Farplants, Hill’s Plants, Johnsons of Whixley, Lovania Nurseries, New Leaf Plants, The Bransford Webbs Plant Company and Wyevale Nurseries were keen to collaborate to find a sustainable alternative to the traditional black pot that could be widely recycled through kerbside schemes and be easily recognisable by the gardening public.
David Chilvers from The Bransford Webbs Plant Company, who chaired the meeting comments, “With so much discussion about plastics in the media it is key that the garden industry takes a lead and moves towards a sustainable solution. Following discussions at the HTA National Plant Show it was evident that many growers and retailers were all talking about plastic pots and this meeting was the obvious next step to keep the momentum going and work towards a solution.”
He adds, “Black plastic plant pots have a bad press because as it stands they can’t be picked up by near infrared (NIR) recycling schemes and most local authorities encourage consumers not to include them in their kerbside recycling bins. As an industry we are in a strong position to change this by adopting an alternative coloured pot with environmental credentials that can be recycled.”
Following presentations from leading manufacturers about the development work that is going on to find alternatives to the black plastic pot the group discussed the options available for the industry. The consensus was to move away from black to taupe and use a carbon black pigment-free polypropylene, made of household waste where possible, that can be identified by NIR and therefore recycled through kerbside schemes. Taupe was the preferred colour option being a neutral tone that is also on trend and sufficiently different from black, although the most important factor in the choice of colour was that it would be easily recognisable by consumers as suitable for kerbside recycling.
Martin Simmons, HTA Director of Operations comments, “We need to work towards a common replacement colour for the industry that growers can adopt and roll out. Couple this with the addition of a recognisable recycling symbol or logo in the near future to add to the specified pot type and we can work towards a system which consumers understand and act on. This issue has great momentum and the growers attending are keen to spread the word and get the wider industry involved. The industry has a real opportunity to lead on this issue.”
With regard to the progression of the initiative growers are looking to phase in the new pots as soon as practically possible.
Growers wanting to find out more should contact Sally Cullimore, HTA Policy Executive on 01235 776196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.